The statements and comments in this post are the opinions of the writer. If I'm wrong on important details please correct me. If you have your own 'opinions' feel free to express them elsewhere, this is my blog hi hi.
So many repeated threads online related to the hobby. Sometimes I have the patience to answer the same questions over and over, and sometimes I wish people would search or scroll down and find the same questions answered over and over in the previous posts.
1) An Amateur Radio 'Certificate of Proficiency' is issued to a person by the Canadian Government department ISED (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) formerly Industry Canada.
- Many Amateurs refer to this as a 'license' which technically it's not. I'm one of those people that doesn't mind the term license as it's easier to say and remember.
- An Amateur Radio 'Certificate of Proficiency' is issued when you pass the multiple-choice test with an Accredited Examiner. These examiners are volunteer Amateur Radio operators of a high knowledge level in the hobby who had been certified to run exams on behalf of ISED.
- Passing the Basic exam with a score of 70% or higher is a pass. You will be issued the Basic Certificate of Proficiency in Canadian amateur radio and a callsign. You will be allowed to operate radios in the 6M band and above (VHF, UHF, Microwave).
- Passing the Basic exam with a score of 80% or higher earns you the designation Basic with Honors. You will be issued the Basic with Honors Certificate of Proficiency in Canadian amateur radio and a callsign. This unlocks HF band privileges combined with 6m and above. So you can use ALL of the Canadian bands and frequencies allocated for amateur radio use.
- Once you have your Basic Certificate of Proficiency you can stop, or continue to study and take the Morse code add-on (5 WPM in CW plus exam), or take the Advanced test and try for your Advanced Certificate of Proficiency in Canadian amateur radio, which grants some additional benefits like building your own radios and operating and maintaining repeaters.
2) An Amateur Radio 'Certificate of Proficiency' DOES NOT allow you to operate in other radio-related modes and systems in Canada including;
- Marine radio (required to operate boats)
- Aeronautical radio (required to operate planes)
- Land Mobile radio (used commercially between work vehicles and office base)
- Rural Route radio (used on rural & logging roads to call out traffic locations)
3) I'm an avid offroader and I was told Amateur Radio is an excellent way to communicate off the beaten path and utilize mountain top repeaters where the cell phone is out of range.
- Yes, you can utilize amateur radio this way. You must follow the amateur radio rules and share the bands and frequencies with others. You cannot claim a frequency as your own, or tell others to get off your frequency.
- Keep in mind if it's multiple people in your party, and each has a radio in their vehicle or on their person they ALL need an Amateur Radio 'Certificate of Proficiency' to communicate with one another.
- You can't use your amateur radios for other purposes (like rural route radio communication on logging roads for example).
- There are alternatives to Amateur Radio for offroading. Look into https://vernoncommunications.ca/4wdabc-gets-bc-wide/
4) What does it cost to get an Amateur Radio 'Certificate of Proficiency'
- Typically it should cost $100. Radio clubs run courses that typically cost around $100. These will typically include the coursebook from Coax Publications with a value of $50 and will also include the classroom teaching and the final exam all together in that $100 bundle.
- There is free course material online on the internet, the quality of that material varies, where the Coax Publication coursebook works on being up to date to match the current government exam.
- If you chose to self-study you will need to find your own examiner and that might also include a small fee as examiners are allowed to charge for their expenses if they wish.
- If you research online well, you can find all the materials you need to study for free, you could also find an examiner for free, so potentially the cost could be nothing. More often people don't mind the $100 investment in getting classroom learning, a good book to keep and study from, and the convenience of an examiner-led scheduled exam at the end.